Low income families are a demographic who have only recently been fully acknowledged by the American government. This in the main is due to the pressure that has been piled onto the government by the American people. You will now find that there are various options of low income health insurance available in the marketplace.
It is estimated that approximately 19 million children (or 25% of US children) now live in what is considered a low income family. This can be defined as a working family of four living under the poverty level of $38,000 per annum. This level of income will make it extremely difficult for a family to afford any form of health insurance.
Unfortunately as a low income family, you can expect to receive far fewer job related benefits that a middle income family and this will include, of course, some form of employer based health insurance. However financial hardship may arise because there is still a need for food, child care and housing expenses to meet.
You will also find that underlying health issues are far more prevalent among working families who have a lower level of income. Recent government statistics lead us to believe that approximately 16% of these workers have what can be considered fair or poor health issues. This will obviously only burden these families further and add to their rising cost of health care. People who are uninsured would rather make a trip to the emergency room for something that could definitely be handled at the doctor’s office. This is because they know that a hospital will not turn them away for not being able to meet the costs of a medical bill.
Another aspect of this type of insurance to consider is for people who were on public assistance, but have since returned to the workforce. Once you are making enough money to no longer be eligible for public assistance, does not automatically mean that you have enough money to afford and purchase health care. This situation can be made worse if your employer does not allocate any health care provisions.
As mentioned, there are now a number of routes a low income family can take to find affordable health insurance:
Medicare/Medicaid – These are both federal entitled programs. They are managed by the state within which you live and jointly funded by the state and the federal government. They are available to low income families, people with disabilities, children and the elderly. In order to be eligible you must be a United States citizen and your assets, as well as your income, will be taken into consideration.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) – These are not strictly deemed health insurance plans, but rather a savings account. They should actually be used in conjunction with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). A special non-taxable savings account can be used for medical care, over the counter medications and prescription drugs. Although the benefits are restricted, this kind of account can surely help to take some of the burden at a time when you are in need of medical assistance the most.
State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) – The intention of this program is to ensure that every single uninsured child in the USA has access to proper health care. If you, yourself, are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, this should be reflected onto your children. You may need to check what coverage is available however all the states will do their utmost to protect the health of their children.
Private Health Insurance Companies – Many of the biggest names in health care will provide low income health insurance. They can offer you a benefits package that is designed to help those with a low income against the possibilities of serious injury or illness. Ordinarily this type of insurance plan will not cover routine health care, but they will help to protect you financially should you face a serious illness or injury.
No matter what your financial situation, the cost of you and your family’s health is invaluable. There are a number of professional groups and organizations who can provide a group plan even if a member of your family already suffers from any major health issues. The best course of action is to initially contact your state department of insurance who will have a list of recommended insurance companies who can offer health cover to low income families.